U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

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Ninth Circuit reverses district court and holds that a plan administrator is not an ERISA fiduciary when negotiating its compensation with a prospective customer

February 23, 2018

Click here to view the opinion.

U.S. Chamber urges Ninth Circuit to overturn erroneous ERISA decision

February 10, 2017

The U.S. Chamber filed an amicus brief urging the Ninth Circuit to reverse a district court decision holding that it is unlawful for an ERISA service provider to collect asset-based fees, even when the service provider negotiates the fees before it assumes any arguable fiduciary duties, and even when an independent fiduciary approves the fees in a written contract.

The Chamber’s brief argues that the district court’s ruling is at odds with basic and long-established rules about the limits of fiduciary status, which give service providers appropriate freedom to negotiate their fees before being hired and collect those agreed-upon fees after being hired. If allowed to stand, the decision would upend a well-established and entirely lawful means of paying the administrative and other costs of 401(k) plans and make it harder for employers to offer such plans.

The brief was filed jointly with the American Council of Life Insurers and the American Benefits Council.

Eric S. Mattson and Daniel R. Thies of Sidley Austin LLP served as counsel for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the U.S. Chamber Litigation Center.

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